For our IES Abroad Ambassadors, their time studying abroad was one of those life-shaping, change-you-from-the-inside-out type experiences.Read their stories of personal growth below:
"Studying abroad taught me how to be independent and confident. I did so many things while studying abroad that I would never have considered doing back home, like flying to a foreign country for the weekend, trying all kinds of new foods, attempting to learn a new language, and putting myself out there to make friends with a bunch of strangers who quickly became a huge part of my life."
"I had a chance to go through experiences that most will only dream about. I feel much more prepared to take on the world knowing that I can handle anything that life throws at me (even losing a passport)!"
"Going into a new country that speaks a foreign language without knowing a soul was scary, but that challenging environment really pushed me to be adaptable, accepting, and constantly ready to learn."
"Although I made amazing friends during my time abroad, I also learned that I am enough. I learned to love spending time with myself, and learning more about myself. I was presented with situations that only I could deal with. I had to challenge myself to overcome those situations."
"I am thankful for studying abroad for teaching me that saying ‘yes’ is the best thing you can do for yourself. By saying ‘yes’ to a summer away from friends and family, and ‘yes’ to studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain, I discovered my passions and made lasting friendships. Since coming back to Penn State in the fall, I have picked up a Spanish major, and still keep in contact with my friends from my IES Abroad program. I am so thankful that I said ‘yes’ to what initially seemed like a daunting three months away from home, because study abroad gave me many gifts I will carry with me for life."
"Study abroad offers a terrific opportunity to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It has made me infinitely more comfortable in new situations, and has given me invaluable personal skills. From communication to confidence, study abroad’s impact cannot be understated."
"Study abroad affected my independence and willingness to take risks. Being in a new and exciting setting taught me to step out of comfort zone and be willing to try everything. I don’t think I’ve said, ‘yes’ to so many things before in my life."
"Studying abroad in Santiago has allowed for me to grow personally by teaching me to slow down. It taught me that this life we have does not need to be rushed; that overly ‘scheduling’ will make us blind to our surroundings. Being abroad has re-taught me to breathe, breathe at a time when life as an undergraduate had become weary and almost suffocating at times. Whether it was stopping to look around as I commuted among 8 million people in Santiago, or buying a plane ticket to the desert of San Pedro de Atacama without a clear cut plan."
"My study abroad experience really taught me that it's okay to be independent and do things on my own at times. It's really hard at first to be okay with doing things on your own, but I realized that there were experiences I didn't want to miss out on, and I needed to do them even if my friends didn't want to, as well."
"Academically and personally, I was introduced to my passions. Whether it was becoming addicted to absorbing Spanish colloquialisms, to realizing how much I need and thrive off of a challenge, studying abroad in Madrid allowed me to grow. These are realizations are some things that I will carry with me long after my student visa expires."
Follow along with our Grateful for Study Abroad series as recent alumni share the many incredible ways their study abroad and internship abroad experiences changed their lives:
- IES Abroad Ambassadors Share How Study Abroad Benefited Their Careers
- IES Abroad Ambassadors Discuss Friendships Made While Studying Abroad
- Why Past Students Are Thankful for Their IES Abroad Academic Experiences